THURSDAY THOUGHTS | The lure of the Bad Boy

I’m starting a new thing called Thursday Thoughts, which is basically me talking about the thoughts I’ve been having over the day or week. Or the fortnight. Or the month. Depends on how much these thoughts wants to be let out, or my mood. It’ll be straight from my brain to the keys, no plan or structure, so it might get messy. It will get messy. I’ve decided to start it because, well, it’s Thursday, it makes a good alliteration, and I’ve just finished reading Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (review will be up tomorrow).

Excerpt from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Excerpt from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Click image to enlarge)

While the Darkling isn’t really “bad” or much of a jerk — at least not at this point of the book — it got me thinking why women both in fiction and in real life are attracted to the Bad Boy. You know who he is. He’s probably a bit of an outsider. Mysterious. Narcissistic. Owns a black leather jacket. And maaaaybe a motorcycle.

He comes in various forms. Vampire. Snarky blond demon hunter. Fallen angel. Childhood friend.

I knew a guy like that once. For the sake of this blog, I’ll call him Max. Max was the bad boy of my high school. In primary school he had a round face and a kind smile but somewhere between then and puberty he roughened around the edges, developed a jawline (seriously, it’s all in the jawline) and had a spoonful more of testosterone than the other boys. He was that kid who got into fights a lot, never tucked his shirt in, played basketball in his spare time. Girls loved him. I admit, I had a crush on him too. I mean, he was cool. And he wasn’t always bad. He was a friend of one of my best friends which meant I got to hang around him every now and then and observe the moments he wasn’t staring down other males like a wolf claiming dominance. He could be nice, I thought. Rationalising it all. But why?

I can only offer reasons from my own experience as I’m no psychologist.

Some choice Bad Boys.

Maybe because it’s exciting. I was a good student who never broke rules — as ordinary as they came. Here was a guy who was not of “my world”. Somewhere deep down inside of me, I was waiting to be liberated, to break free from the nice little box I’d made for myself. I wanted to be reckless. Not my nicely made up self. Feel that rush of adrenaline. Maybe because in the quiet moments, I saw his vulnerability, why he was the way he was, and it tugged at my nurturer’s heartstrings. Maybe I was an idiot. Maybe I couldn’t find strength in myself and was looking for it in someone else. Someone who was confident, who I could look up to and take strength from. Maybe it was that overwhelming sense of masculinity he oozed like if I were under the protection of that power, I would be safe (from what?). Maybe he was a novelty I wanted to pick apart and analyse and somewhere along the way that turned into attraction. Maybe he challenged my own view of the world. Maybe it is what it is.

Who the hell knows?

It’s funny because while it was a little, insignificant high school crush (and I rarely see him because our friendship circles have sort of diverged over the years), passing mention of him still makes my heart thump just a tad faster for a while. Maybe the lure of the Bad Boy never truly wanes.

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